Rosemary Shrager

THIS MONTH OUR CELEBRITY CHEF ROSEMARY SHRAGER IS TALKING ABOUT THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS, AND SHARES WITH US HER FESTIVE RECIPES

The month of Christmas is upon us. But what does it really mean? The meaning is ‘Feast day of Christ’ and it has been celebrated as a sacred religious holiday for two millennia. It is the Christians’ celebration day of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, whereupon gifts were given from the three wise men.
We are now a multi-cultural society with so many different religions. I see it that we can still celebrate in our own way, as our understanding allows. Not only does it cheer us up in the middle of winter, it’s a time that we can be with our families.

Christmas is a time to reach out to other people, or maybe talk to people you haven’t seen for a long time. Also it’s a time to give, and help someone in need, someone less fortunate than yourself.
We need to go back to basics. One of my oldest friends who comes from a very large family in Holland, does Christmas in a wonderful way. They put every name in the family in a bag, then pick one out and make a present for that person which represents them, so you only have one present to do and it’s homemade. That has meaning.

Christmas has lost something because it is so commercial. When I lost everything, that was a time I understood what it was like not being able to afford presents for the children. For years after I used to dread Christmas, it’s now getting better.

Christmas is about the excitement of the children, a time to let our hair down a bit.
When I do pantomime I love the sound of the reactions of the children, it’s pure joy.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.

GAME TERRINE Serves 10 -12

■ 350g belly of pork, skinned, boned and minced
■ 350g saddle of venison
■ 2 pheasant breasts
■ 1 partridge, old will do
■ 1 egg
■ 50ml madeira
■ Sprig of thyme
■ Bay leaf
■ 1 tablespoon olive oil
■ 50ml armagnac
■ 2 tablespoons skinned green pistachio nuts
■ 6 dried apricots diced
■ Salt and pepper
■ 12 slices streaky bacon, very thinly cut, rind removed
■ Oven 180°C

METHOD:

1. Carve the pheasant breast into thin slices.
2. Remove all the meat from the partridge. Marinate the meat of both in the Madeira, olive oil, thyme and bay leaf.
3. Mince half the venison, then put the rest in the processor with all the partridge meat. Put everything into a large bowl and mix in the minced pork and venison. Season well.
4. Line a terrine with three layers of cling wrap, leaving enough to fold over the top, then line this with the bacon.
5. Spread one quarter of the mixture over the bottom of the terrine then half the pheasant breast slices, another quarter of mixture, the rest of the pheasant breasts and fi nally the remaining mixture. Fold the ends of the bacon over the top, then the cling wrap, cover with foil and place in a bain-marie. Put in the oven for 1 hour 40 minutes.
6. Check to see if it is done, leave it out to cool and put into the fridge overnight. The next day carefully lift the terrine from its dish and take off the cling wrap. Rewrap in new cling film and put back in the fridge until required. Serve cut in thin slices with a few salad leaves as garnish.

RAISIN AND FIG PANETTONE

■ 100ml warm water
■ 25g fresh yeast
■ 75g plain flour
■ 100ml warm milk
■ 30g fresh yeast or 16g dried yeast
■ 75g golden caster sugar
■ 260g eggs
■ 3 egg yolks
■ 2 Tsp vanilla extract
■ 150g unsalted butter, cold
■ 550g plain flour
■ 200g raisins
■ 8 ready to eat figs, chopped
■ Zest of 2 oranges
■ Zest of 1 lemon
■ Oven 220°C turn down to 150°C

METHOD:

1. First in a bowl add the 25g fresh yeast, 100ml lukewarm water and the 75g flour, mix into a smooth paste and leave in the fridge covered until needed.
2. Add the butter to the flour to form a crumble.
3. Next, add the 30g fresh yeast, whole eggs and yolks, lukewarm milk, vanilla extract, sugar and salt to the flour and continue beating until smooth.
4. Now add the paste mixture and the chopped figs, raisins and zest of oranges and lemon. Beat on a high speed until the dough becomes elastic (approximately five minutes). This can be done by hand. Put the dough into a large floured bowl and allow to rise for two hours approx. This takes a longer time because of the fruit.
5. Now divide the dough into 12 equal parts and make balls, drop into paper bags and allow to rise for another 45 minutes. Brush the tops with egg yolk and bake for 10 minutes then turn down to 150°C for a further 45 minutes; check after 40 minutes.